S-Space Graduate School of International Studies (국제대학원) Dept. of International Studies (국제학과) 국제지역연구 국제지역연구 vol.09 (2000)
일본의 지방분권과 주민생활
Decentralization and Life World of Local Area in Japan
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 국제지역원
- 국제지역연구, Vol.09 No.4, pp. 19-37
- This study analyzes the impact of decentralization in the Japanese administrative structure. In the midst of globalization, Japan has adopted the policy of deregulation and opened the domestic market to foreign enterprises. Deregulation has precipitated the disintegration of urban old middle class supporting conservative politicians. Japanese big government with its centralized decision making process has been criticized as the root of corruption and ineffectiveness, which cannot deal with the task of providing new kinds of social overhead capital that might enhance quality of life. Reducing the size of the state, they transfer a large portion of functions and responsibilities from central government to local authorities. Japanese local governments are also obliged to reduce expenditures. Thus, privatization of the services provided by public authorities has been emphasized. In this context, Japanese policy makers try to encourage the participation of local residents in the management of affairs especially those concerned with quality of life. Non-profit organizations are also expected to share the burden of providing welfare services. Reduction of working hours and change of life style have made the Japanese new middle class, strongly integrated in the enterprises, spend more time and energy in their neighborhoods. They have begun to show interest and eagerness in participating in ‘town-making club’ (machizukuri club) activities. It can be said that the new policy mix constituted of privatization and volunteerism has been introduced in the Japanese local area to fill the gap caused by decentralization. We can understand this kind of change to show one of the features of structural reform based on neo-liberalism.